An English translation of the Sushruta samhita, based on original Sanskrit text. Edited and published by Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhishagratna. With a full and comprehensive introd., translation of different readings, notes, comperative views, index, glossary and plates
May 1, 2012
Mr Ramachandran's arguments are not based on facts.Mythological and imaginary points are raised to justify his stand. Ayurveda students studying in NMI were expelled when Calcutta Medical College was founded in 1839. It was at this time spurious medical and surgical manuscripts in Sanskrit in the fictitious names of Charaka and Sushruta were produced. The Asiatic Society scholars in Calcutta accepted these fake manuscripts as genuine and published research papers in the Society journal. To legitimize this false claim, fanatical Sanskrit pundits, Ayurvedic physicians and some Orientalists chalked out a well planned strategy by which they linked the fictitious Sushrusa with world renowned Western surgeons. In 1815, Joseph Constantine Carpue wrote about a rhinoplasty performed on a wounded soldier whose nose had been all but destroyed in battle, and another patient whose nose had been damaged by arsenic. His work, the “Account of Two Successful Operations for Restoring a Lost Nose” became a standard work in medical colleges. Although the Italian surgeon Tagliacozzi’s treatise on making a nose from an arm flap, De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem(Venice, 1597), was an outstanding work, the condemnation of operation by religious authorities resulted in complete withdrawal of this practice. Students of Calcutta Medical College, founded in 1835, were taught about the works of Tagliacozzi and Carpue and the successful rhinoplasty performed by Carpue .Ayurvedic proponents wanted to show that Carpue and Tagiliacozzi learned rhinoplasty from Sushruta’s technique. It is quite transparent that the essential points in Carpue’s work were plagiarized and Sanskrit manuscripts were published in the fictitious name of Sushruta. To camouflage this act, Ayurvedic physicians claim that Carpue came to India and stayed for 20 years to learn Shusruta's technique of rhinoplasty. But the fact of the matter is that Carpue had never come to India. The British medical journal Lancet is categorical that Carpue stayed and worked in London only. They also claim that the Italian Tagliacozzi also learnt from Sushruta's method. To substantiate this false claim they had invented a story that Sushruta's work was translated into Arabic during the Abbasid Caliphate and from there it went to Europe. What a fantastic manipulation! There is no Arabic translation of Shusruta's work during the Caliphate.The famous physician in the Caliphate was Avicenna and he produced treatises and works that summarized the vast amount of knowledge that scientists had accumulated, and was very influential through his encyclopedias, The Canon of Medicine and The Book of Healing. There is absolutely no reference to Sushruta or rhinoplasty in his works. What is more, there is no statement by European surgeons that they received Sushruta's Arabic translation from the Arabs during the Renaissance. Another ridiculous attempt to legitamize ther fictitious Sushruta was the Bower’s manuscript. Like the Pitman’s hoax, Bower produced some manuscripts The Bower Manuscript, like the Pitsdown Hoax, is a hoax. Hamilton Bower wanted to get name and fame for himself. During the period of his service in India, the Asiatic Society was making all endeavors to construct the History of India. In the absence of printed texts, scholars of the Society were collecting old manuscripts. Due to the long Muslim rule and due to the political uncertainty in India there was no manuscript library, no storehouse and no temple to preserve manuscripts, if at all they were available. When the Society called for manuscripts, thousands of fake Sanskrit manuscripts were produced and they were presented before scholars. Many English men such as William Jones, Colebrooke, Wilson and many others used Brahmins to produce fake manuscripts. Strachey and Colebrooke attempted to prove knowledge of science and matheematics in ancient India. In the absence of printed texts, it was easy for these scholars to invent stories by using spurious and manipulated Sanskrit manuscripts. Jones wanted to establish the fact that ancient India had advanced system of surgery and scientific knowledge. Jones wanted to be knighted and for this purpose he produced many stories using spurious manuscripts. One Islam Akhun was notorious for producing fake manuscripts in Sanskrit and Brahmi. Hamilton Bower probably would have got these fake manuscripts from Akhun. Hoernle who deciphered these manuscripts was also fooled by these fake manuscripts. Birch bark-leaf manuscripts were alleged to have been found in 1909, and one may wonder how could these manuscripts survive for several centuries? We are told that fortune seekers found these manuscripts. How did the manuscripts find their way to Turkestan? So on the face of it everything is fraudulent and it was a cunning attempt of Bower to get name and fame for him. Doubting the authenticity of the works, Sir Aurel Stein met with Islam Akhun in Khotan in the spring of 1901. Stein questioned Akhun on the manuscripts and concluded that the manuscripts were fake. Eventually, he exposed Akhun for imitating Brahmi characters and inventing similar-looking characters
April 25, 2012
AUTHENTICITY OF SUSHRUTA AND HIS WORK
I’m quite surprised to find a biased and distorted review of SUSHRUTA SAMHITA in the Internet archive of the reputed University of Toronto by Mr. Yeshuratnam. He has made three serious accusations all of which are baseless.
1. There is no documentary, numismatic or sculptural evidence to prove the time and period in which Sushruta lived that he is a hoax.
2. Ayurveda had no knowledge of surgery, virology, opthalmology, general medicine,gyanecology, microbiology and obsterics
3. The English surgeon Carpue's technique in rhinoplasty was copied and attributed it to Sushruta.
There is no documentary, numismatic or sculptural evidence to prove the time and period in which Sushruta lived.
Mr.Yeshuratnam displays a singular lack of awareness of ancient Indian history. There are four reasons for this. One, all esoteric knowledge was passed on by oral tradition from one generation to the next. In places like Kerala, most of the ayurvedic knowledge was confined to few families of which the most famous were the Ashtavaidyans. Written manuscripts or scrolls came much later. Secondly In Vedic period all constructions were using wood. There were no stone structures. Thirdly being an agrarian society, money was not the store of wealth… it was cattle and land. That explains the reason why the Aryans deified the humble cow. Obviously there could not be any numismatic evidence of Sushruta. That said, evidence of Sushruta is available from a number of secondary sources. Tibetian, Chinese and Arabic works refer to Sushruta specifically by name. Buddhists texts right from the Vinaya texts to Milinda Panha contains ample evidence which is further backed by Chinese and Arabic texts. It was through Arabic works the Greeks came to know of Sushruta. Mr. George Bazerman, in the Department of Education comments: “TheGreeks were not content from borrowing known Indian drugs only, but they subjected new ones to therapeautic measures such as application of leeches and anti-dote of snake bite, etc. In the book of Celsus, there are excellent accounts of lithotomy and cataract operation, which were developed and practiced ancient Hindu medical experts and described in SUSRUTA SAMHITA …A number of renowned Indian Vaidyas were invited to Bhagdad and several Ayurvedic treatises were translated into Arabic such as SUSRUTA SAMHITA as KITAB-SHAWASOON-AL-HIND.” One must also remember that much of the Ayurvedic texts where in the Buddhist University of Nalanda which were lost while it was ransacked during the medieval period if Indian history.
Mr.Yeshuratnam seems to give greater credence to people like Dr John Grant, J C Sutherland, C E Trevelyan, Thomas Spens, Ram Comul Sen and M J Bramley who were active protagonists of the Anglican point of view. This was at a time when William Bentick was actively trying to belittle traditional knowledge. Their rivals the Orientalists were fighting a lost cause as the Anglican point of view not reflected the policies of the colonial government, but also had the active support of both the East India Company and proselytizing missionaries. But it was the article of Wilson (1823) on the ‘Medical and Surgical Sciences of the Hindus’ published in the Oriental Magazine, which drew the attention of many British, German and French historians. Royle (1837), Wise (1845), Stenzler (1846), Webb (1850), Webar (1852) Brian (1858), Lietard (1863), Daremberg (1867), Manning (1869), Goldstucker (1869), Hessler (1887), Schoroedar (1887), Brendes (1891), Cordier (1894, 1896) Mcdonnal (1900) are some of the few who studied and wrote about the evolution of Ayurveda. Mr. Yeshuratnam by highlighting only the Anglican point of view has presented a selective and distorted picture of Ayurveda. His statement that “Ayurveda had no knowledge of surgery, virology, opthalmology, general medicine,gyanecology, microbiology and obsterics” is baseless
But it is this sweeping statement, which highlights his ignorance and bias. “Ayurvedic teachers carried on a battle against Western medicine and produced spurious Sanskrit manuscripts to cover all the topics in modern medicine and claimed all these topics were known to ancient Indians, especially Sushruta and Charaka, long before the British doctors came to know about them. The English surgeon Carpue's technique in rhinoplasty was copied and attributed it to Sushruta. Althgough Carpue had never visited india , they made a false statemenet that he was in India for 20 years to study rhinoplasty.”
Joseph Constantine Carpue actually came to know about this in article published in Gentlemen’s magazine in 1794, which mentioned about the ancient ayurvedic procedure which British surgeons in India studied. Yes Carpue had never been to India but he was influenced by Sushruta’s innovations, which he came to know. Here are just a few of the scholarly articles which substantiates this:
The path of nasal reconstruction: from ancient India to the present.
Yalamanchili H, Sclafani AP, Schaefer SD, Presti P. Facial Plast Surg. 2008 Jan; 24(1):3-10.
Nicolò Manuzzi (1639-1717) and the first report of the Indian Rhinoplasty.
Sykes PJ, Santoni-Rugiu P, Mazzola RF. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2010 Feb; 63(2):247-50. Epub 2008 Dec 19.
A History of Rhinoplasty
Eisenberg PMID:7051367 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
To conclude Mr. Yeshuratnam has presented a biased and distorted picture, which is very regrettable.